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A Royal Mob

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

March 9. –As the populace of Boston have thought fit to repeal the tarring and feathering act, the king’s troops have thought fit to revive the said statute; and in consequence of such a determination, to-day they gave us a specimen of a royal mob. The soldiers have been encouraged by their officers to take every method of tricking the unwary. Yesterday, an honest countryman was inquiring for a firelock, when a soldier hearing him, said he had one he would sell. Away goes the ignoramus, and after paying the soldier very honestly for the gun, (which was only an old one without a lock,) was walking off when half a dozen seized him and hurried the poor fellow away under guard, for a breach of the act against trading with the soldiers. After keeping him in duress all night, this morning, instead of carrying him before a magistrate, who on complaint would have fined him, (as has been the case in several instances,) the officers condemned him without a hearing, to be tarred and feathered, which sentence has been executed.

After stripping him naked and covering him with tar and feathers, they mounted him on a one-horse truck, and surrounding the truck with a guard of twenty soldiers with fixed bayonets, accompanied with all the drams and fifes of the regiment, (forty-seventh,) and a number of officers, negroes, and sailors, exhibited him as a spectacle through the principal streets of the town. They fixed a label on the man’s back, on which was written American Liberty, or a Specimen of Democracy; and to add to the insult they played Yankee Doodle: –Oh Britain, how art thou fallen! Is it not enough that British troops, who were once the terror of France and Spain, should be made the instruments of butchering thy children! but must they descend also to exploits too infamously dirty for any but the meanest of the mobility to practice? What a wretched figure will the Boston expedition hereafter make in the historic page! 1


1 Holt’s Journal, March 30.

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